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2010 Regular Season
CARDINALS @ CHIEFS PREVIEW

  • When: Sun. 11/21 - 1:00 pm ET FOX

  • Satellite Radio Sun. 11/21 - 1:00 pm ET - SIRIUS Ch 91

  • Televised: Sun. 11/21 - 1:00 pm ET ET - DirecTV Sunday Ticket - 712

Overview
Last Game
Meet the Chiefs
Cardinals Roster
Cardinals vs. Chiefs Matchups

Overview:
The Chiefs - Led by former Cardinal OC Todd Haley - are one of the surprise teams of the season, though they did get blown out by Denver 49 - 29 in their most recent game. The Cardinals - enduring a 4-game losing streak - are on "life-support." The Cards need this game desperately, but may simply have not enough juice left in the proverbial tank to change their karma. The Chiefs (with very good leadership from Haley and his assistants) will probably view their last game as a "wake up call" and then take it out on the Cardinals. (According to Haley, this week's practices will be dedicated to revisiting "fundamentals."

Last Game:
The Broncs opened up a quick 21 - 0 first quarter lead, expanded it to 35 - 10 by halftime and then coasted in to 49 - 29.

First Quarter

  • The Broncs received (touchback) and (with the key play being a 39-yard completion to Lloyd over the middle) steadily moved to the KC 17-yard line where, on the 8th play of the drive, Orton hit Moreno for a 17 yard score. Broncs 7 - Chiefs 0.

  • Arenas returned the ensuing kickoff to the KC 28. The Chiefs picked up one 1st down before punting from their own 40. Denver took over on their own 18 and made its steady way to another TD  - this time in 9 plays - on a 6-yard completion to Lloyd. Check out the following yardage-sequence to gain a sense of how relentless the Bronco offensive attack really was: +9, +13, +19, +8, +9, +6, +11, +1, +6. Broncs 14 - Chiefs 0.

  • Arenas returned the KO to the KC 21, where the Chiefs went 3 & out. The Broncs returned the punt 18 yards to their own 47. On the 3rd play of the series, Orton hit Gaffney for a 40-yard score. (Replay camera didn't work, so no challenge could be processed). Broncs 21 - Chiefs 0.

  • Arenas returned the KO to his own 36 and the Chiefs moved to midfield as the quarter ended. First Quarter Score: Broncs 21 - Chiefs 0.

Second Quarter

  • The Chiefs moved to the Bronco 27 where Cassel got sacked for minus-7. Succop's 52 yard FG try was no good. Broncs took over on their own 42. They reeled off another methodical TD drive. Check this one out: +9, +11, +5, +9, +1, +22 (short pass to Thomas to the 1), Incompletion, 1-yard TD run by Tim (Wildcat) Tebow. Broncs 28 - Chiefs 0.

  • Starting from their own 20, they picked up a couple of first downs and then a roughing call on Denver put them on the Bronco 23. A second Denver roughness penalty got them to the Denver 8-yard line, where Cassell then got sacked for (you read it correctly) minus-17 yards. He fumbled and Denver's Hunter picked up the ball and ran 75-yards for another Denver TD. Broncs 35 - Chiefs 0.

  • (Holy Guacamole!) Arenas returned the KO to the Chiefs 17. KC managed to pick up a few first downs, and a 38-yard Cassell to Tucker completion moved them deep into Bronco territory where Cassell hit Charles for a 5-yard score. Broncos 35 - Chiefs 7.

  • With 1:28 remaining, Denver moved from their own 27 to the KC 40 in 7 plays, where their 58-yard FG attempted failed, and Berry returned the short FG attempt to the Denver 22, where Succop booted a 40-yarder with 0:01 left on the clock. Halftime Score: Broncos 35 - Chiefs 10.

Third Quarter

  • KC received on their own 20 and went 3 & out. Orton and the Broncs took over at their own 40 and did it still again. Yardage sequence: Incompletion, +4, +23, +4, +8, +3, Incompletion, +12, +3, +3 & a TD (on a run by Larsen). Broncos 42 - Chiefs 10.

  • Arenas returned the KO to the KC 16. They made it all the way to the Denver 1 (chewing up a total of 12 plays and nearly 5-minutes of clock time before turning the ball over on downs. Pinned down at its own 1, Denver went 3 & out. KC got the ball back on the Bronco  38. On the 3rd play of the possession, Cassel hit Charles for 24-yards and then Bowe for +15 and a TD. Broncos 42 - Chiefs 17

  • Broncos returned the next KO to their own 34 and ran off 4 plays, moving into KC territory, as the quarter ended. Third Quarter Score: Broncos 42 - Chiefs 17

Fourth Quarter

  • Bronco's ball, 2nd & 6 at the KC 39. Six plays later, Orton hit Lloyd for a 15-yard TD (Play was originally ruled "incomplete" but reversed).  Broncos 49 - Chiefs 17.

  • 11:47 still left on the clock. Tucker returned the KO to the KC 17. The Chiefs then mounted an 83 yard, 15-play scoring drive capped by an 11-yard Cassel to Chambers scoring pass. (Drive consumed 4:52 worth of clock).   Denver 49 - Chiefs 17.

  • Onside kick was recovered by Denver at the KC 42. Broncs went 3 & out. KC got the ball back with 5:16 left, but holding calls on O Connell and Albert helped push the Chiefs into a 1st & 30 situation they were unable to dig out from under. Broncs got the ball back at the KC 38 with 3:30 left, but went 3 & out. KC took over on their own31 with 1:55 left. They were able to move to the Denver 22 before Cassel hit Bowe for a TD with 0:15 left on the clock. Two-point attempt failed. Denver 49 - Chiefs 23.

  • Succop kicked off long. Orton took a knee. Game over. Final Score: Denver 49 - Chiefs 23.

Highlights/Lowlights
If If you look at the stats and then at the final score, you have to be shaking your head. When somethin like that happens, you usually look for stuff like penalties and turnovers to explain a lopsided score, but penalties were fairly infrequent (KC had 6/Denver 3) and the KC turnover margin was a big, fat minus-1. The only thing we can come up with is that Denver enjoyed a significant (though not overwhelming) edge in both running and passing yardage and - by keeping miscues to a minimum - were able to leverage that advantage.. (Note - we're not sure what the deal was - but we do know is that Haley refused to shake hands with McDaniel after the game - though Todd acknowledges that he shouldn't have done this).

  • The final KC touchdown drive demonstrates that - despite the score - Haley had his troops fighting to the last snap.

  • The two teams matched up more equally than you'd expect from a 26-point shellacking. First team stat that jumped out at us was Run Yardage - Denver racked up 153 yards/KC only 51.

  • KC only averaged 2.3 yards per running play (vs. 4.9 for Denver)

  • Orton racked up 469 passing yards (vs. 296 for Cassel - big but not overwhelming difference).

  • Cassel was sacked 4 times (Orton zero).

  • Denver was 5 of 5 in the red zone (i.e. KC's defense was 0 for 5 inside the 20).

  • Cassel's QB Rating was 116.0 (4 TD's and no interceptions. But Orton's was a gaudy 131.5.

  • Bowe (this game's Mike Williams?) caught 13 passes of 18 thrown to him. Charles (5), Copper (5) and Chambers (4) were next in numbers of catches.

  • KC only lost one fumble (for a total of 1 turnover)

Meet the Chiefs
A totally different culture since the arrival of GM Scott Paoli and then Todd Haley and then his assistants. The Chiefs started out 3 & 0 and looked ready to surprise the world. They' currently tied with Oakland for the division lead at 5 & 3. The irony of the 20-point loss to Denver is that they delivered a 20-point whupping on the Broncs earlier in the year.

Everything points to lack of depth - something they were able to adjust to and overcome earlier in the season, but it's been suggested that attrition has taken its toll, and the provebial "well" of capable backups may be beginning to run dry. Two especially vulnerable positions appear to be the KC offensive line and the secondary (iffy deals at best - because a number of injured players (a) could return to action or (b) might not).

The strength of this team earlier in the season was that (a) it could run the ball, (b) stop the run, (c) play it close-to-the-vest & not beat itself, (d) stick to the fundamentals drilled into them (like wrap-up tackling and no "block tackling") in order to (e) let the coaching schemes work in their favor. Suddenly, the Chiefs aren't running well, have trouble stopping the run, are making mistakes and are less-than-squeaky clean technique-wise - which is why the schemes the coaches cook up aren't working as well as they did at the beginning.

Haley has promised a commitment to "stressing fundamentals" during this week's practices. Look for the Chiefs to rebound against the Cardinals with hard, solid fundamental play.

Season Stats

Kansas City Opponents
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS 187 172
FIRST DOWNS (RUSHING-PASSING-BY-PENALTY) 72-99-16 49-112-11
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS 41/120 48/127
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS 8/16 6/13
TOTAL OFFENSIVE YARDS 3,272 3,102
OFFENSE (PLAYS-AVERAGE YARDS) 594-5.5 595-5.2
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS 1,488 940
RUSHING (PLAYS-AVERAGE YARDS) 312-4.8 236-4
TOTAL PASSING YARDS 1,784 2,162
PASSING (COMP-ATT-INT-AVG) 158-267-4-7 196-340-7-6.7
SACKS 18.0 15.0
FIELD GOALS 13/17 11/15
TOUCHDOWNS 25 23
TOUCHDOWNS (RUSHING-PASSING-RETURNS-DEFENSIVE) 6-16-1-2 6-15-1-1
TIME OF POSSESSION 31:28 30:30
TURNOVER RATIO +5

  • Check out KC's rushing 1st downs compared to their opponents.

  • Chiefs have racked up 58.3% more running yards than their opponents.

  • Conversely, they've gained 17.1% fewer passing yards than their opponents.

  • They're ahead +5 in the Turnover dept.

  • Cassell (94.5 passer rating) has 16 TD passes but only 4 interceptions and is completing nearly 60% of his throws.

  • Charles is outgaining Jones in rush yards (760 to 573) and YPC (6.0 to 4.1). Both have breakaway speed.

  • Jones scored 3 TD's/Charles 2.

  • Bowie (39 catches and 606 yards) leads the Chiefs with 9 touchdowns.

  • Their TE (Moeaki) and a RB (Charles) are next highest Chief receivers with 31 and 26 catches respectively

  • McCluster, Copper and Chambers are all in the receiving mix with their number of catches ranging from 11 - 15.

  • Succop has missed 4 of 17 FG attempts (2 outside the 50 and 2 between 30 and 39 yards)

  • Arenas handles most of the KR and PR duty, but McCluster is the yardage-eater (averaging 20.9 YPR fielding 7 punts and a relatively "average" 21.5 YPR on kickoff returns.

  • Hali is the sackmeister with 8.0 followed by Gilberry with 4.0

  • Johnson leads the team with 77 tackles (& 3 forced fumbles) followed by Belcher (51 tackles) and Berry (50). Seven other Chief defenders have tackles ranging from 25 to 39.

  • Berry, Flowers and McGraw each have 2 interceptions.

 Quarterbacks
07 Cassel, Matt QB 6-4 230 28 6 USC
12 Croyle, Brodie QB 6-2 206 27 5 Alabama
Cassel has a ridiculous TD to Interception Ratio of 16 to 4. Croyle has always been highly regarded in KC, but, in keeping only two QB's on the active roster, the Chiefs are playing with fire.


 Running Backs

20 Jones, Thomas RB 5-10 212 32 11 Virginia
25 Charles, Jamaal RB 5-11 199 23 3 Texas
26 Battle, Jackie RB 6-2 238 27 3 Houston

46 Castille, Tim RB 5-11 238 26 4 Alabama
42 Cox, Mike FB 6-0 252 25 3 Georgia Tech

Chiefs run the ball 58% more often than their competition - and you could  say that they've built the foundation of their entire football team around their ability to pound the rock. Charles and Jones are the "two headed monster" with Charles getting most of the carries (& yardage). But each of them can burn you on any given Sunday.


 Wide Receivers
84 Chambers, Chris WR 5-11 210 32 10 Wisconsin
10 Copper, Terrance WR 6-0 207 28 7 East Carolina
15 Tucker, Verran WR 6-1 204 22 R California
82 Bowe, Dwayne WR 6-2 221 26 4 LSU

22 McCluster, Dexter WR 5-8 170 22 R Mississippi

Bowe is the "Mike Williams" of the Chief's football team - maybe not quite as tall, but just as physical. He leads the team in TD's with 9. Cassel spreads the ball around in a somewhat limited fashion to the other 4 KC receivers, but uses his TE's and RB's quite a bit more as targets.

 Tight Ends
45 Pope, Leonard TE 6-8 264 27 5 Georgia
81 Moeaki, Tony TE 6-3 252 23 R Iowa
85 O'Connell, Jake TE 6-3 250 25 2 Miami (Ohio)
Lookie at who the starting TE is! (at least "on paper" - the rookie, Moeaki is 2nd on the team in catches). But Moeaki is playing injured  and is a subject of concern..

 Offensive Line
76 Albert, Branden LT 6-5 316 26 3 Virginia
67 Richardson, Barry T 6-6 319 24 3 Clemson
54 Waters, Brian LG 6-3 320 33 11 North Texas
73 Asamoah, Jon OL 6-4 305 22 R Illinois
62 Wiegmann, Casey C 6-2 285 37 15 Iowa
64 Niswanger, Rudy C 6-5 301 28 5 LSU
65 Lilja, RyanR G 6-2 290 29 7 Kansas State

75 O'Callaghan, Ryan RT 6-7 330 27 5 California

The Chiefs run the ball effectively, and Cassel doesn't get sacked all that often (roughly twice a game). But it's a banged up unit, with the rookie Asamoah one backup asked to see a lot more action than expected. 
1



 Defensive Line

94 Jackson, Tyson LDE 6-4 296 24 2 LSU
90 Smith, Shaun DL 6-2 325 29 6 South Carolina
95 Edwards, Ron DT 6-3 315 31 10 Texas A&M
98 Toribio, Anthony DT 6-1 315 25 1 Carson-Newman
72 Dorsey, Glenn RDE 6-1 297 25 3 LSU

92 Gilberry, Wallace DE 6-2 268 25 3 Alabama
Not exactly household names, but that's not what D-linemen are used for in a NE Pat style 3-4. Jackson has been nicked up, but Smith has filled in nicely. Gilberry (a backup to Dorsey) is second on the team in sacks.

 Linebacker

50 Vrabel, Mike OLB1 6-4 261 35 14 Ohio State
96 Studebaker, Andy LB 6-3 248 25 3 Wheaton
59 Belcher, Jovan MLB 6-2 228 23 2 Maine
51 Mays, Corey LB 6-1 245 26 5 Notre Dame

57 Cole, Justin LB 6-3 242 22 R San Jose St.
99 Simoneau, Mark LB 6-0 245 33 11 Kansas State
56 Johnson, Derrick MLB 6-3 242 27 6 Texas
53 Williams, Demorrio LB 6-1 232 30 7 Nebraska

93 Greenwood, Cory LB 6-2 235 R Concordia University
91 Hali, Tamba OLB2 6-3 275 27 5 Penn State
Hali leads the team in sacks with 8. Johnson leads the team in tackles with 70. You get the feeling that a key Vrabel role is "coach on the field" to implement the NE/Belicheck/Crennel defensive system and philosphy.

 Secondary
24 Flowers, Brandon LCB 5-9 187 24 3 Virginia Tech
34 Daniels, Travis CB 6-1 195 28 6 LSU
41 Bates, Jackie CB 5-10 180 24 1 Hampton

39 Carr, Brandon RCB 6-0 207 24 3 Grand Valley State
21 Arenas, Javier DB 5-9 197 23 R Alabama
29 Berry, Eric SS 6-0 211 21 R Tennessee
27 Washington, Donald CB/S 6-1 197 24 2 Ohio State

48 Langford, Reshard S 6-1 213 24 1 Vanderbilt
47 McGraw, Jon FS 6-3 208 31 9 Kansas State
23 Lewis, Kendrick DB 6-0 198 22 R Mississippi

35 Price, Ricky S 6-1 195 23 1 Oklahoma State
Flowers is very good. Berry is a highly drafted rookie in the mix for rookie of the year. McGraw's been around for a few years. Chambers, Berry and McGraw have all 6 of the Chiefs' interceptions to date.

 Special Teams
06 Succop, Ryan K 6-2 218 24 2 South Carolina
02 Colquitt, Dustin P 6-3 210 28 6 Tennessee
43 Gafford, Thomas LS 6-2 250 27 3 Houston
21 Arenas, Javier KR/DB 5-9 197 23 R Alabama
22 McCluster, Dexter PR/KRWR 5-8 170 22 R Mississippi

Succop has missed 4 of 17 FG attempts (2 between 30 - 39 yards). Colquitt is solid. Arenas is just ordinary, but when the Chiefs want to do real damage in the return game, they rely on McCluster (the Chiefs' version of LSH).

Coaching Staff

Todd Haley Head Coach

Mo Carthon Assistant Head Coach
Charlie Weis Offensive Coordinator
Romeo Crennel Defensive Coordinator
Steve Hoffman Special Teams Coordinator

Haley, no doubt with Paoli's backing, has assembled an all-star group of senior assistant coaches - in Weis, Crennel and Carthon (all out of the Bill Parcells' and NE coaching tree). When folks talk about "changing a team's culture", they need go no farther than KC.

Cardinal Roster

QB - 03 Anderson, 06 Hall,  19 Skelton,
Anderson had arguably his best game as a Cardinal, but it just wasn't enough. He's cut down on the dumb stuff - like forcing his throws or blasting the arms and heads off his receivers, but he's still not playing well enough to carry this team on his back - far from it. I think I know why. Derek has trouble "seeing the field" early and immediately translating what he sees into anticipating where and when his receivers will get open. Instead, he has to wait until he sees a receiver get open before he pulls the trigger. Result - either he gets sacked or the ball arrives late enough for the defender to either break up the pass or stop the receiver before he can gain extra yardage. This is why we always seem to be drawing up 3rd down plays that wind up 2 - 3 yards short (and could be the reason why Anderson has felt obliged to zing the ball so hard - he's trying to compensate for throwing "late"). Hall had his opportunity but demonstrated that he wasn't ready for prime time (& raised questions about whether, physically, he'll ever be). Skelton has the raw tools, but is still "as raw as rain."

RB - 34 Hightower, 46 A Smith 36 Stephens-Howling  (KR/PR), 26, Wells, 31 Wright,
Beanie continues to be plagued by knee and rib problems (the knee reportedlly due to a medication-issue). Each week he seems to be on the cusp of seeing more action, but then they hold him back. Hightower is effective in certain situations (like snuggling up to the outside edge of the pulling guard to get outside for nice yardage, but he continues to be plagued by holes that don't materialize inside and our failure to pick up tacklers off the back side. Wright, LSH and Beanie are iffy for the Chiefs game, so the Cards re-signed and activated Alfonso Smith (who can also play on special teams) to pick up the slack.

FB - 45 Mau'ia
Mau'ia is our main lead blocker (though Wiz has been known to recruit a few of his offensive and defensive linemen to add heft to the role in key short-yardage situations).

WR - 15 Breaston, 12 Roberts,  18 Komar,  80 Doucet
WR -11 Fitzgerald, 14 S Williams,
Fitz is getting close to normal and Breaston finally seems good to go (yet Fitzgerald will occasionally still miss a catch he'd typically shock us with in the past). Doucet is also back in relatively good health and appears ready to make his mark whenever called on. Cards haven't needed Komar or Williams as much as they did earlier in the season. Roberts continues to improve and emerge as our #4 guy.

TE - 89 Patrick, 83 Spach,  81 Dray
Patrick shows flashes (as does Dray), but let's face it - TE is not the dominant position it is on some other NFL teams. Spach is the best blocker of the bunch, and will occasionally come up with a key catch, but he's also penalty-prone (& it drives us nuts).

LT- 75 L Brown,

LG-
66 Faneca,  70 Hadnot
OC-
63Sendlein, 62 Claxton, (70 Hadnot)
RG- 76 Lutui
RT -
73 Bridges, 74 Batiste
Keith (torn hamstring) was just placed on IR. Cards added Batiste, but smart money says that veteran swingman Bridges will get the starting nod at RT. This unit is not horrible and it has had its moments (both in pass pro and in the run game) but it doesn't grade out well on a high enough percentage of its plays and certainly doesn't seem to be playing anywhere up to Russ Grimm type standards. Just once,we'd like to see this unit take over a game and allow us to run the ball down the other team's throat. Just once, we'd like to see what Anderson can do when he's given an extra half-second to locate his receiver and deliver the ball on time. To me, the Cardinal O-line continues to be a "rationalization" (i.e. everyone seems to say "they're not really that bad" - but they're not really that good either).

DE - 93 Campbell, 79 Iwebema
NT - 97 B Robinson, 98 Watson, 92 D Williams
DT - 90 Dockett, 78 Branch
For a group as talented and deep as this one, they're not making enough things happen. They're bit up and down defending the run. Dockett's injury didn't help last week. We're not sure if it's the LDE or the LOLB, but we continue to let opposing QB's roll to their right untouched by human hands. With all that time to allow a receiver to run free, we've gotten murdered play after play.

OLB1 - 55 Porter
ILB  51 Lenon, 52 Obiozor
ILB- 54 Hayes, 58 D Washington,
56 Walker,
OLB2 - 53 Haggans,  59 W Davis
Haggans has been out and Lenon has made plays despite playing hurt. Hayes has helped make us stouter vs. the run, but is a liability in coverage. Porter has been a pleasant surprise - playing at the same high level of energy regardless of down, distance or game-situation. Washington can be trusted when he's in there, but still has a ways to go on the learning curve.

RCB - 28 Toler, 37 McBride, MacDonald
LCB-
29 Rodgers-Cromartie, 27 Adams   
SS-
  24 Wilson,
 22 Ware, 41 Abdullah,
40 Tillman
FS- 25 Rhodes,  
49 Rash Johnson
This unit has been beaten up, dismembered and spit out by opposing passing attacks. Biggest vulnerability has been our inability to stop big, physical wide receivers (two of whom just happened to be named Mike Williams). Each team we face continues to throw at their big receiver until we stop them - except that we never do. Both coaches and fans apparently (including me) think we've got the "cats pajamas" in our 2 corners - DRC and Toler' yet those opposing teams keep burning them. It would make really really good sense for us all to accept the fact that - regardless of how talented Greg and Dominique may be - they can't cover big, fast, physical guys. We've got to give them some help; yet we never seem to make that necessary adjustment and other teams continue to make toast out of our corners. At safety, Kerry Rhodes is everything we'd hoped he'd be - smart & in position to make big plays. Adrian Wilson has been a disappointment - for 2 reasons: (1) he's not in on a majority of defensive plays the way he was the past few years and (2) too often he's been on the wrong side of other teams' highlight reels (because he "turns the wrong way", gets tripped up by the "turf monster" or plays "air tackler"). He's been so good in the past that we can't help but wonder if there's something going on that we don't know.

K-04 Feely
P- 05 B Graham,

H - 05  B Graham
LS-
82 Leach
KR -
37Stephens-Howling

PR
- 12 Roberts, 18 Komar, 15 Breaston, 37Stephens-Howling
Feely's done what's been asked of him. Graham's production has fallen off of late.  Stephens-Howling (aka LSH and "The Hyphen") has proved he's the "real deal." The only reason he shouldn't make the Pro Bowl as a returner is because of the abundance of dramatic kick returners (like Leon Washington or Devon Hester)>  Roberts has overcome rookie jitters to develop into a better-than-average punt returner (who continues to get better).

  Cardinals vs. Chiefs Matchups 

Late Breaking  - Alfonso Smith has been activated to bolster a thin group of RB  (Wright, Stephens-Howling and Wells still remaining questionable for today. To make room for Smith, the Cards released WR Max Komar (though those close to the scene expect him to be back as soon as the depth-dust settles).

Kansas City Injuries
Name Position Injury Practice Status Game Status
Dexter McCluster WR Ankle Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Tony Moeaki TE Head Did Not Participate In Practice Out
Brian Waters G Groin Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Ryan Lilja G Groin Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Jon McGraw S Knee Did Not Participate In Practice Out
Donald Washington S Calf Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Kendrick Lewis S Hamstring Full Participation in Practice Questionable

Arizona Injuries
Name Position Injury Practice Status Game Status
Chris Wells RB Knee Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
LaRod Stephens-Howling RB Hamstring Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable
Jason Wright RB Head Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable
Stephen Spach TE Foot Full Participation in Practice Probable
Will Davis LB Knee Full Participation in Practice Probable
Paris Lenon LB Ankle Full Participation in Practice Probable
Dan Williams DT Calf Full Participation in Practice Probable
Darnell Dockett DT Shoulder Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Clark Haggans LB Groin Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Reggie Walker LB Hamstring Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Gregory Toler CB Foot Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable
Kerry Rhodes S Hand Limited Participation in Practice Questionable

Chiefs Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Cards once again face a 3-pronged (WR-TE-RB receiving threat) with one of the three able to dominate anyone attempting to cover him one on one. This week that guy figures to be 6-2 Dwayne Bowe (who leads the Chiefs in catches and TD's). Cassel is an efficient passer who seldom beats himself. (Check out his 16 TD's vs. only 4 picks). The Chiefs do a good job of protecting him (though they are a bit beaten up on their O-line). The Cardinals have been torched repeatedly by big, fast physical receivers, but continue to insist on putting either DRC or Toler on these guys 1-on-1 with absolutely no success. We either have to play more zone or give our two cover-corners some help. The Chiefs' TE, Moeaki, has been banged up, and is listed as "out." This might give Adrian Wilson some breathing room to focus on getting his mojo back.

Card pass rush will be hampered if Dockett (shoulder - questionable) can't go. Two things I think we should consider strongly - (1) try to take advantage of KC's banged up offensive line, by confusing and outwitting their blocking schemes and (2) putting a second guy on Bowe on passing downs.

Chiefs Running Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
The Chiefs have outgained their opponents 58%+ in ground yardage. Their ground game is clearly what makes the offense go. They struggled vs. Denver a week ago (perhaps due to a rash of injuries that hit its offensive line).KC only gained 2.3 yards per running play (with Charles held to something like 40 yards). Haley has promised a return to fundamentals so the Cards (who rank near dead-last vs. the run) may have to find a way to avoid being smashmouthed by a team who knows how to do just that.

Thing of it is, though, neither Jones or Charles are thumbers. They're more "one cut and go." Which means our Front 7 has to maintain gap discipline and emphasize wrap-up tackles over "roll-tackles."

Cardinal Passing Attack vs. Chiefs Pass Defense
Anderson can only do so much. He's limited when it comes to making quick decisions off presnap reads and hitting open receivers "before the break", on time and on target. He's getting the ball to Fitz and Breaston more reliably now, and is more inclined to throw away the ball when his receivers are covered, but he hasn't exactly exploded into a lights-out NFL quarterback. But that's OK. We can win games with Anderson QB'ing the team. Just don't put him in positions where he has to dig his way out of a hole or preserve a 2 touchdown lead against a high-powered offense. (He'll just throw the ball too hard & inaccurately and take too many sacks with the game on the line). The key to Anderson's success, therefore, is a decent running attack (no turnovers; few penalties!) and a consistently stingy defense that doesn't make too many mistakes. Levi Brown and Jeremy Bridges will have their hands full defending the edge against outside rushers like Hali and Gilberry. They say that the Chiefs secondary is banged up, and it's uncertain whether or not 2 or 3 starters will return to action; so there may be areas back there we can exploit (the problem, of course, being that - if someone like Warner was under center, we might be able to do the exploiting, but Anderson may not have the command to capitalize on any mismatches.

Their starting FS McGraw (who operates next to rookie standout, Berry) is listed as "Out" for Sunday. His backup, Kendrick Lewis (hammy) is listed as Questionable, though he did participate in full practice.

Cardinal Running Attack vs. Chiefs Run Defense
It's unclear who'll be active this Sunday - Until Beanie actually shows up and does something, we can't be sure he'll finally be ready. Hightower is pretty good catching out of the backfield and attacking the perimeter (a nice idea if we want to keep guys like Hali and Gilberry away from Anderson). It will be interesting to see the net impact of Bridges for Keith (Brandon, when executing properly, could be a lights-out blocker, but how many times was that)? Wright may not be well enough to play this week (or some or all of the weeks that follow). The explosive Stephens-Howling is used primarily as a pass-catching misdirection guy...and used more and more each week (& to good use), but he's listed as Questionable for Sunday. We say it every week - In order for the Cardinal passing attack to be effective, we have to at least present the threat of a running attack. This week, we'll take it a step farther. To win Sunday, we'll have to run the ball better.

Special Teams
Colquit and Graham are pretty even in the punting game (though Graham has suffered more mini-lapses than expected of late. Feely is a more reliable kicker than Succop. In the return game, McCluster reminds us of LSH (or is it the other way around). Both are listed as "questionable" for today. (I wonder if the two head coashes - who've been good friends for quite awhile - might cut a deal whereby we agree to rest LSH if they agree to rest McCluster).

Final Word
The Cardinals are no longer trying to figure out "who they are." (They know who they are, and right now, it ain't pretty. In fact, we're looking up the tailpipes of the other 3 teams in our division). That's not to say that "strange things are bound to happen" and that we shouldn't play our guts out to win every single game, but the handwriting is on the proverbial wall. And it's not just the comparative W & L records either - the Cardinals simply aren't playing good enough football. Main culprits: QB, Pass Defense and Mistake-prone Overall play. It's not easy playing the back end of your season staring up at a manhole cover.  Cards are now at a point in their season (and the history of their franchise) where it's time to find out what these guys are really made of.

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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/21/2010